Technological advancements are not always evident to customers in the travel industry. A plane may fly in a more fuel efficient manner or be made safer with little impact on a traveler’s day-to-day experience. But advancements that make lost luggage a thing of the past will certainly impact passengers in a positive, tangible way. Airlines are utilizing new technology to keep better track of passenger belongings, including RFID luggage tracking. We asked business travel expert Road Warriorette to give us the scoop on how this new tech works, and how it makes travel better.
What is RFID luggage tracking?
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a way to use electromagnets to uniquely identify an object. Delta Airlines began rolling out RFID-embedded bag tags early in 2016, and by the end of 2016 planned to have hands-free RFID scanning technology at 344 airports worldwide. (Learn more about Delta’s baggage tracking process here.)This allows Delta to keep track of your suitcase from drop off to baggage claim. International Air Transport Association estimates that using RFID tracking will help reduce the number of lost bags by 25% over the next five years, a sure win for travelers and the airlines alike.
How do I use RFID to track my suitcase?
Not only can Delta track each suitcase, but passengers can use the Delta website or Fly Delta app to see where their bag is in real-time. For customers with short connection times it will be incredibly helpful to see whether their bag made it onto their flight. It’s even possible to track your bag from the air, as long as your aircraft is equipped with wifi.
Do other airlines plan to release similar technology?
At this time Delta is the only US-based airline offering RFID-tracking for checked bags. However, American Airlines passengers can use their website or app to see where their bag was most recently scanned. It’s not as specific as RFID, but it’s certainly an improvement over baggage tracking in the past as American now scans luggage six times between check-in and baggage claim.
What other technology is available to track your luggage?
Luggage companies are also starting to use technology to track luggage. RIMOWA has launched app-enabled “smart luggage”, which uses a digital display instead of a physical baggage tag. They have partnered with several European airlines, including Lufthansa, to support real-time baggage tracking. Other companies have announced efforts to create digital luggage tags and smart tags, although those aren’t readily available on the market yet.
While there will likely always be a small percentage of lost bags, new technology will help greatly reduce this number. Innovations like RFID luggage tracking will continue to improve the travel experience for passengers.